Capello says Ferguson retired following `excess stress`

London: Former England manager Fabio Capello has claimed that outgoing Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had told him that he was retiring because of excess stress.

Although speculation has been rife as to why Ferguson retired since he made the shock announcement, the news is likely to send shockwaves through the footballing world, as the Scot has always appeared fearless as the boss of United, the Daily Star reports.

According to Capello, who now manages Russia, although the Scot had told him a few months ago that he would be staying on at United, however, following the new of retirement, Ferguson told him that he could no longer handle the pressure of managing the world`s biggest club, despite being at the helm for almost 27 years.

Stating that the news of his retirement had surprised him, the Italian said that Ferguson had told him that he is planning to go on a world tour with his wife and have relax, adding that he was the greatest coach of all time, especially because of all the difficulties he overcame at the start of his career with United.

Claiming that he has a special relationship with Ferguson, Capello further said that it is incredible that Ferguson stayed on at the same job for 26 years, as a coach normally moved after four or five years at a club.

According to the report, the 71-year-old Ferguson had said many times in the past that he would only leave United when his health forced him to and many had believed that a planned hip operation this August, which would have sidelined him for two months, was the reason he called it a day.

The news came as the United fans prepared to say farewell to Ferguson, who takes charge of the team for the last time at home tomorrow as United will be handed their 13th Premier League trophy after the match against Swansea, which will be watched by a capacity 76,000 crowd, the report added.